Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Statistical Genetics
- The University of Oxford
- Location: Oxford, United Kingdom
- Job Number: 7094011
- Posting Date: Feb 15, 2022
- Application Deadline: Apr 16, 2022
We are looking to appoint a highly motivated and enthusiastic postdoctoral researcher to undertake interdiscipli-nary collaborative research at the universities of Oxford and Zurich. The aim of this research is to characterise genetic variants influencing human lactation and provide a greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms mediating the benefits of breastfeeding for offspring health, development, behaviour, and educational attainment.
The postholder will utilise biological, clinical, and genetic data from longitudinal birth and population cohorts such as Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort study (MoBa) and the UK Biobank, to identify genetic variants associated with breastfeeding exclusivity and duration, as well as maternal and offspring outcomes.
The post will be based at the University of Oxford, and involve regular secondments to the University of Zurich, e.g. at 4 monthly intervals.
It is expected that the candidate will have a background in genomics and computational biology, with experience handling whole genome and exome datasets. Supervision will be provided jointly by Prof Fadil Hannan at the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health, University of Oxford and by Prof David Yanagizawa-Drott at the Department of Economics, University of Zurich.
The post will be offered on a fixed term contract for 24 months with the option to extend on extramural funding.
To date, there has been very limited investigation of whether human lactation is determined by genetic factors. Whereas, positional cloning approaches and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involving cattle have identified thousands of variants across the genome, which influence milk yield, and the production of milk com-ponents such as proteins and lipids. Thus, lactation, which is a highly conserved biological process, is likely to be mediated by a complex maternal genetic architecture influencing multiple tissues and organs. Identification of the major human lactation genes will provide fundamental insights into the determinants of mammary gland physiolo-gy and reproductive endocrinology, as well as help elucidate the underlying causes of lactation insufficiency. Furthermore, as breastfeeding promotes child health, intelligence and educational attainment, it is likely that ma-ternal lactation genes contribute to the development of ‘human capital’ and may ultimately enhance human productivity and economic growth.
Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Oxford Centre for the Endocrinology of Human Lactation (LRF OCEHL) com-prises a team of doctors, scientists and a research midwife, whose goal is to undertake ambitious clinical and basic science research to define the endocrine and genetic processes that ensure lactation adequacy. LRF-OCEHL is based in the Nuffield Department of Women’s & Reproductive Health (NDWRH) at the University of Oxford. NDWRH is one of the largest and most successful academic departments in the world in its field. There are approximately 160 people working in the department, including senior academic staff, research support staff, clerical and technical staff, and graduate students (including clinicians) carrying out research towards a higher degree. There are also a number of visiting researchers from many parts of the world. The average annual in-come is approximately £10 million, of which over 75% comes from external sources.
Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Center for Economics of Breastfeeding (LRF CEB) focuses on the economics of child and youth development with an emphasis on breastfeeding. The research from the center offers policy-makers and public health organizations empirical evidence for designing policies and programs to improve child and youth development. The researchers at the center design and conduct empirical research on the social and economic determinants of child and youth development by leveraging empirical analyses based on existing data, leveraging existing policy changes and other quasi-experimental settings, as well as randomised experiments, to provide causal evidence.
• Develop and lead the bioinformatics pipelines for analysis of whole genome/whole exome sequencing data from population and longitudinal birth cohorts.
• Utilise existing statistical and computational tools, including algorithms for genetic association analysis.
• Depending on experience and skill, develop new statistical methods to analyse associations between genomic data and clinical, behavioural and educational outcomes.
• Attend appropriate scientific seminars and meetings and remain up-to-date with developments in the relevant fields.
• Work collaboratively with team members at the universities of Oxford and Zurich.
• Contribute to the supervision of MSc and PhD students.
• Present results of analyses at internal academic meetings, and at scientific conferences.
• Prepare scientific publications arising from the research, serving as the first author.
ESSENTIAL SELECTION CRITERIA
• A PhD involving quantitative research, particularly in statistical genetics, bioinformatics, computational bi-ology, etc.
• Knowledge of next generation sequencing analysis and data handling.
• Ability to analyse whole exome and whole genome data.
• Experience of GWAS and linkage packages.
• Good programming skills, such as with python and R.
• Familiarity with bioinformatics databases.
• Experience of contributing to high-impact scientific papers as evidenced by publications.
DESIRABLE SELECTION CRITERIA
• Highly collaborative. Willing to undertake multi-disciplinary research.
• Commitment to high quality research.
• Experience of PheWAS and mendelian randomisation.
• Knowledge of basic molecular biology.
• Interest in economics or relevant social science, e.g. political science.
• Ability to develop a long-term, holistic research vision for the topic.
• Ambition to write grant proposals and to seek new grants to further develop interdisciplinary research topic.
• Capacity to anchor the topic to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and understanding how it applies in low-resource settings.
• Willingness to integrate the work/vision within the key WHO and UNICEF initiatives.
• Motivation to identify collaboration opportunities and build collaborations.
• Drive to develop yourself as a leader within your field.
• Capable of establishing the topic’s value with potential funders.
• Envision the road to implementation – from basic research to application and social impact.
Have we sparked your interest? Then we look forward to receiving your electronic application (including CV, letter of motivation and names and contact details of 3 professional referees):
If you have any questions about the role, please contact us at:
[email protected] or T: +41 52 511 30 70
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